Tag: palahniuk

2014 Book #46: Doomed

doomedI see what you’re doing, Chuck Palahniuk. You’ve written a Purgatorio to go after Damned, your Inferno. We all know what’s coming next.

I only read Doomed because I own (won) it, so I’ve been meaning to read it only for that reason, and it was immediately available on OverDrive when I needed another audiobook to read. Which means that I didn’t even read the copy I won. Anyway, I’d been putting it off because I didn’t remember liking Damned, though I apparently did. It’s funny how quickly I forget books and what I thought about them. Which is why I keep this blog – but that’s neither here nor there.

In this installment of Palahniuk’s Divine Comedy, thirteen-year-old Madison ends up stranded on Earth. She’d made a reasonably comfortable place for herself in Hell, but the Universe had other plans for her. She’s somehow supposed to reconcile God and Satan. But that doesn’t exactly happen yet. I imagine it will in the third book of the trilogy. Here, she’s a ghost, getting into trouble on Earth and finding out exactly what’s going on with her parents. She meets her dead grandparents and tells stories about their involvement in her life and death. Things Happen – this time involving a new religion and an entirely plastic continent floating on the ocean, composed of styrofoam and similar societal discards.

Like DamnedDoomed is funny, but that’s its only saving grace. It’s certainly not as good. I’ll read the third one just because I’ve read these two, and I’m vaguely interested in what happens to Madison and her family.

A bit of a warning: if you have a weak stomach, this is not the book for you. There’s a long scene (45 minutes of audio, or so) involving a glory hole in a truck stop and what Madison (at thirteen years old?) thinks is a big piece of dog poo. It’s not pretty. If you’ve read Palahniuk before, though, this is just par for the course.

In non-book news, I got mad enough at Apple because my iPhone 5 kept breaking that I went over to Verizon and bought a Samsung Galaxy S5. I was worried that I might regret it, but it appears to have been a fantastic decision. I’m considering writing an entire post about the glories of Android.

There’s also, of course, the puppy. She got first photo honors with my new phone:


She’s starting to look more like a dog than a puppy, which is a bit disconcerting. She’s so big!

2013 Book #45: Damned

damnedDamned isn’t my first brush with Palahniuk: I tried to read Haunted a few years ago, and I read Lullaby and blogged about it in 2011. He’s most famous for Fight Club, but that’s Not My Kind of Thing. I’ve seen snippets of the movie. I didn’t remember much about Lullaby, except that I generally liked it, but on rereading my so-long-ago review, I see a huge trend.

Damned is about thirteen-year-old Madison Spencer, who ends up dead and in Hell. She’s the child of movie people, and she’s grown up in a phony (shoutout to Holden!), hippie, liberal household – the sort I’d expect Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s kids are experiencing at this very moment. Palahniuk goes back and forth between the present (Hell) and the past (how she got there). She ends up meeting some other dead teenagers who take her on a tour involving seas of toenail clippings and partial-birth abortions: things you might imagine finding in Hell. She meets famous people who we’d imagine might be there. Yes, this is sounding a bit like Dante. She also works in a phone bank, which is responsible for all of the dinnertime spam phone calls around the world. She says she’s addicted to hope and tries to overcome said addiction until she finally gives up and takes action. Then More Things Happen.

So here’s what Damned has in common with Lullaby: it’s fun, highlarious in parts, but preachy. It seems more like an inspirational YA novel than an adult one. It’s like Palahniuk was trying to write said YA novel but couldn’t help and put some…X-rated…stuff in. Lots of parents would complain. Lots. I’d let my older teenager read it, but hey, I’d be proud of having a literate child at all.

Anyway, the message is Take Charge of Your Destiny because You Can Be Whoever You Want to Be, and You Shouldn’t Wait until You’re Dead. And such. Teenagers.

That said, just like Lullaby, I enjoyed Damned except for the preachy bits, at which I rolled my eyes. Most of the time I was giggling, sometimes laughing aloud. It’s really funny, and it’s well-written. I wouldn’t expect someone like Palahniuk to write preachy novels, but I’d imagine Fight Club is equally messagy. Otherwise, it’s a great book.

I think I checked Damned out of the library when it was first published, but I didn’t read it. The blurb sounded interesting, but I eventually forgot about it until recently, when I somehow won a copy of Doomed, the second in what I’ve learned is a series, in a drawing on Riffle’s Sci-Fi TumblrDoomed sounds exciting, but I figured that I should read Damned first. I’ll read Doomed soon, as I really enjoyed Damned despite its sometimes-annoying preachiness.

Oh! There’s a super-gross (but funny!) part about a quarter into the novel, so I tweeted this comment:

And whoever runs Chuck Palahniuk’s account retweeted me! Which means that my phone blew up for a while with favorites and retweets from more ardent fans. Exciting!

2011 Book #35: Lullaby

lullaby-chuck-palahniuk-hardcover-cover-art.jpegLullaby is the second Chuck Palahniuk novel I’ve attempted and the first I’ve finished. I picked up Haunted a couple of years ago, and, though I remember liking it well enough, I didn’t finish it. It either freaked me out or bored me. I’m not sure which. I read Lullaby because Jacob told me about it, and I thought it sounded interesting. It’s about a feature writer investigating cases of random baby deaths who figures out that lots of the parents had copies of a book called 27 Poems and Rhymes from Around the World. There’s a poem in it, which he calls a culling song, that kills people. And he kills some people, then begins a quest to destroy every copy of the book. He meets a real estate agent who has problems with amusingly haunted houses, who also knows the culling song, and they band together with a young couple in search of the rest of the books. Then Things Happen. (Just wait for the scene involving a cryogenically frozen dead baby. That one’s a kicker.)

I enjoyed most of Lullaby, but at the end it gets a bit preachy. Palahniuk yells at the world, “THIS BOOK IS ABOUT POWER! YOU HAVE NO FREE WILL BECAUSE YOU’RE BEING CONTROLLED BY OTHERS! LIKE THE GOVERNMENT! AND THE MEDIA!” It was a bit much for me. Toward the end of the novel, he can’t stop talking about it. He even throws a “you” in there:

Oyster occupies Helen, the way an army occupies a city. The way Helen occupied Sarge. The way the past, the media, the world, occupy you.

Meh. I made it clear when I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being that I hate being preached at. It’s like the second half in Sartre‘s Nausea when he’s preaching Existentialism. I get it. Enough already.

A year or two ago, some well-known publication (I don’t, of course, remember which) had a website that said it could tell you to what author’s style your writing is closest. I don’t write much anymore (besides on this blog, of course), so I plugged in a chapter of the novel I’ll never finish. It said my style is similar to Palahniuk’s, and I can see that. And I like his style, so it’s certainly not an insult.

So, in sum, I enjoyed Lullaby except for its preachiness, and I’m open to giving Haunted another try. Palahniuk also wrote Fight Club, and I hear the novel is better than the movie, though that’s usually the case. I’m not even sure I’ve seen the whole movie. I just hope that he doesn’t pound his message into the readers head with his other books. It was almost violent.

© 2018 Oh wait…I forgot.

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑